Glossary of terms used at the Institute and at the Surnateum
These definitions are valid
within this specific context. Complete mastery of the concepts underlying these terms is essential in order to understand this site.


A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z


Alcheringa (Alchera, Aranda, Pitanjajara, Jukurrpa ): The term used by Australian aborigines to signify 'dreamtime', 'dreaming' or simply 'dream', and the foundation of the Aboriginal mythic conception. A time when the world was created by the ancestral spirits who used the essence of life (kurkurpa) to fashion the world. Alcheringa is an eternal world; it exists outside ordinary time and space, but is nevertheless adjacent to the 'real' world. 'Dreaming' in this sense is not to be confused with the dreams we have when we sleep. Dreamings are complex and can be many things: a metaphysical fabric, a cosmogony, a myth, a fable, a material and spiritual creation, a cultural truth. Alcheringa is all of that; each view is just as valid as any other. The creatures found in dreamings are the sacred symbols of aboriginal families. The Sensitive first learns to enter Alcheringa in order to develop his capabilities. Of course, the first creature a Sensitive encounters in a dreaming is his totem spirit in the form in which the Sensitive is travelling. The Alcheringa room at the Institute is mainly used by neophytes and Storytellers; a trained Sensitive is always in a dreaming state. The dreaming is a 'dimensional portal' providing a gateway to the creative potential, the original memory and total knowledge. It is a doorway to the sacred.

Anancithide (also anancitide or syrrochite): According to the Dictionnaire des Superstitions populaires (Dictionary of Folk Superstitions), compiled by Father Migne (Paris, 1856), anancithide is a "sort of ingredient which magicians and sorcerers were said to use to keep demons they invoked at their beck and call for as long as they wished." It is a magic stone fallen from Heaven or spit out by Hell and used to evoke demons. Vitrified by the fires of Hell, it is strangely reminiscent of the Black Stone of the Kaaba and seems to have come from a meteorite. Betyle (standing stone) comes from Betulos and from Beth-el, house of God. The rare specimen of anancithide at the Surnateum is concealed within a silver Arab Koran stand.

Ancestors: All those who have gone before us and who have now rejoined the eternity of the dream. They have always - in all times and in all places - been consulted through dreams. In ancient Egypt, special rooms were set aside near temples and sanctuaries to consult the gods during sleep. Spiritism offered more or less the same thing. In vaudou, the leader of the Guédés, the spirits of the deceased, is Baron Samedi. His wife is Maman Brigitte.

Art: Like the alchemists and occultists of centuries past, the artist works with raw materials that are constantly evading his grasp and in relation to which he must find himself. The artist works on himself via a fiction that is his art, a dream within the Dream. Unlike the occultist, the artist tries to enrich the phenomenal world through his work, to bring beauty to the universe. He therefore opens himself up to the world and listens to it. At the Foundation for the Exploration of Dreams, practising an art is essential so as not to withdraw into a schizophrenic frenzy. That which is received during Alcheringa must be rendered in the phenomenal world. However, artists disturb and upset a great many people who refuse to acknowledge the artist's very right to exist. Unlike the civil servant, the artist is unique and irreplaceable.

Bardo of the dream state (Tibetan bardo 'interim state'): The lamas of Tibet distinguish six types of intermediate state: the bardo of birth , the bardo of the dream state, the bardo of the meditative state, the bardo of the moment of death; the bardo of supreme reality and the bardo of becoming.
The bardo of the dream state, used intensively at the Institute, is an illusory state (dream) within another illusory state (reality). Once mastered, this concept allows the Dream traveller to create a passage
way between Alcheringa and the phenomenal world through which he can travel. In this state, certain experiences and encounters become critically important for the Dreamer. Certain encounters can be deadly. Most of the Hauntiques in the Surnateum come from Alcheringa, but only a trained Sensitive can understand this...

Bibliophile Jacob: The name of book lover P.L. Jacob (actually Paul Lacroix, 1807-1884), curator of the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, publisher of Rabelais, Corneille, Cent Nouvelles and L'Heptaméron, preface writer for the works of Shakespeare, biographer of Molière and Restif de la Bretonne, historian, novelist, children's storyteller, a teller of weird tales and more...
According to one anecdote, Paul Lacroix loved
finding works that had been stolen from the Bibliothèque Nationale, and would send these books to his Curator, accompanied with acerbic notes and useful recommendations for preventing theft.

Bokor: In Vaudou, a hougan (priest) who is an adept of black magic who has made an engajan (promise) with a loa (spirit) of the Petro or Zobop family for evil ends. It can control a ti-bon-ange, a bodyless soul, or direct an astral zombie to pursue his victim. This spirit is also called duppy.

Camazotz (Mexico, zotz is the Mayan word for 'bat'; Camazotz is the bat of death.): Of Mayan origin, the cult of Camazotz dates back to 100 BC among the Zapoteca Indians and is an integral part of their agrarian myths. Camazotz would descend to earth when the corn was planted. Camazotz was a half-man, half-vampire divinity who terrified the peoples of Central America. The Quiches of Guatemala called him Zotzilaha Chamalcan, their god of fire. In the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, Zotzilaha does not represent the divinity, but rather the cave where Camazotz lives.
In the mysteries of Xibalba, Hunahpu and Xbalangue (the heroes of the second book of the Popol Vuh) fight Camazotz, the lord of the bats
. Armed with a large sword, Xibalba attacks and kills them. The human soul is sometimes represented by a vampire, because like that creature, the soul is blind and deprived of light from a metaphysical sun. Like the vampire, the depraved, miserly soul must feed on prey close to it in order to survive.
The cult of Camazotz, like most Mayan cults, always included offerings of blood. Representations of this divinity can be found in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and even Costa Rica. Apparently, the cult continues today.
The bat associated with Camazotz is either the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) or the false vampire bat (Vampyrum spectrum).
In 1988 a type of vampire bat 25% larger than Desmodus rotundus was reportedly sighted in Venezuela. Its name - Desmondus draculae - speaks for itself.

Canari voodoo: Vessel containing the soul of a Zombie. In Haiti, the souls of the dead are found in the sea that surrounds the island.
In certain Petro, Bizango and Zobop rites, when the soul (the Ti-Bon-Ange, Astral Zombie or Duppy) is from a particularly powerful being, the vessel becomes damp during the invocation. In
the most extreme cases, it fills with water: salt water when the soul is associated with the sea, and fresh water in certain rare cases.

Cheiro: Pseudonym of Count Louis Hamon (1860-1936), Cheiro was one of the most celebrated palmists of his time. He wrote many works on divination and claimed that his clients included Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Lord Carnavon. He predicted the abdication of Edward VIII and his romance with Miss Simpson. He is associated with the first contemporary recounting of the mummy's curse, and reportedly warned Lord Carnavon of his impending doom in Egypt.
Cheiro claimed to own a mummified hand from which he drew his gifts as a palm reader. The mummified hand bears a certain resemblance to the Talismain, an amulet kept at the Surnateum.

Chöd (Tibet: cutting through the ego): Chöd, whose origins are deeply rooted in Bönpo shamanism, is one of the most dangerous rites in the voyage through the Dream World. In this ritual, the follower goes to an isolated spot in the mountains, preferably to the place where the dismembered bodies of the dead are left to be devoured by predators (a common burial custom in rugged, rocky areas). The ritual is complex and includes dances, mantras, music (played on a drum [damaru] and a thighbone trumpet [kanglig]). Ritual objects are used: a dorje, a bell, a miniature tent, a sceptre surmounted with a trident and a small banner. A description of the rite follows:
"At the beginning of the rite, the adept - in the form of a certain female deity - dances the dance that destroys erroneous beliefs. Identifying his passions and desires with his own body, he offers it to the Dakinis as a feast. He then visualises it as a huge, fat and succulent corpse and - mentally withdrawing - he watches the deity Vajra-Yogini cut off his head to use as an enormous cauldron into which she tosses large chunks of his flesh and bones. Next, while intoning words of power, he transforms the offering into pure amrita (nectar) and invites the various orders of supernatural beings to come and devour him. Fearing that they will become impatient, he asks them not to hesitate in consuming the raw offering instead of wasting time cooking it. Moreover, he dedicates the merit of his sacrifice to the beings who devour him and to all beings in general, wherever they are. (...) All of this must take place in a solitary and impressive place, and the adept must ensure that he follows the rites perfectly so as to keep himself safe and sound amidst a horrible horde of blood-drinking demons. If he is skilled in visualisation, he will gaze upon these creatures and see his body cut into pieces by Vajra-Yogini."
The Chöd rite is extremely violent; Evans-Wentz reports that many shamans did not survive it. Some experiences pursued by those in the upper echelons of the Institute are similar to the Chöd. Hungarian shaman Yoska Soos initiated the Collector into this rite, followed by shaman Gérard de Backer, who is now dead. In Tibet, the system of meditation called Chöd may be practised by lay followers, Nagpas or monks. The aim of the Chöd is to develop generosity, dispel fear and make attachment redundant.

Key: Certain keys, symbols of the passageway between two worlds, are used by Sensitives to determine whether or not an object or place is haunted. When laid flat in the palm of the hand, the key naturally begins to vibrate in the presence of the 'magic charge' emanating from the object in question.
According to many Sensitives, it is more accurate than a pendulum since it is not as subject to the unconscious movements of the body. Unlike the sorcerer's wand or the divining rod, the key cannot be used to find underground currents or ley lines; it can only detect if a haunting is present.
Certain Sensitives wear a gold, silver or bronze  key around their neck to symbolise their status as a Dream Traveller. The Collector wears a gold key on a chain. The key is penetrated by the silver body of a Dreamer. This piece of jewellery is based on an image from a painting by Jérôme Bosch.

Coincidence: 'a chance occurrence of events remarkable either for being simultaneous or for apparently being connected' (Collins English Dictionary). Explanation commonly given by dyed-in-the-wool rationalists on the subject of strange and inexplicable phenomena. This explanation is just as irrational as the phenomenon in question, but it seems to comfort rationalists. Often used in conjunction with such terms as 'mass hysteria' and 'mass hallucination' by |s. Generally speaking, all rationalists come up with the same answer when they fail to understand certain phenomena: "Maybe it's just a coincidence!"

Collector: When written with a capital 'C', refers to the successive owners of the Collection. The Collector also runs the Foundation for the Exploration of Dreams, as well as detecting and training Sensitives.

Confession: The most amazing espionage system ever dreamed up by the Roman Catholic Church. Only surpassed by the invention of the mobile phone and the Internet. What else can we say!

Curator: When written with a capital 'C', refers to the individual responsible for the collections at the Surnateum. On occasion he is called upon to become the next Collector, but not always because he must first master all the knowledge contained in the Liber Oneiromicon, the 'Book of the 7 Gateways of the Dream'. Doing so requires a good 30 years of in-depth study by a gifted individual.

Storytellers: Those who transmit knowledge, professional liars who tell the truth. Storytellers train the young Sensitives at the Institute. Through the art of telling stories, their form of education is free of any and all dogmatism. They are the very essence of the Surnateum, its raison d'être. They are also the first points of contact between the world of the Surnateum and the world of the layman. Magicians and masters of the spoken word, they are able to open the Gateway to Alcheringa just enough for the non-initiates to catch a glimpse; they can invoke the loas and the guédés and activate the Hauntiques. An evening spent with a Storyteller from the Surnateum is unforgettable. In fact, it is often at such evening get-togethers that young Sensitives are discovered. Engager un Conteur

Cryptozoology (Crypto: hidden; zoology: science of the study of animals): Science of hidden animals, mythical creatures and living fossils. Term created by Bernard Heuvelmans (see this name in the Department of Cryptozoology).

DSA: Acronym of the Surnateum Dyslexia Association, a charitable organisation set up by the Surnateum staff to help young Sensitives afflicted with dyslexia. The DSA gratefully accepts any gifts.

God: Principle of unity, the One who cannot be compared to anything. In all traditional societies, this Principle is inaccessible and represents Totality, the Number. Comparing God to the Devil or to anything at all is simply absurd, for the Devil is a divine creation. God simply is, and believing in his non-existence is meaningless, as is imagining that he could be good or bad, male or female. God is at once unity, multitude and nothingness. Olodumare, Gran Mêt, Allah - all of these are names designating the Principle. Man is under the illusion that he is separate from it, but that is etymologically impossible.
Our friend Dieudonné Kabongo thinks that God looks like Léopold II, the former king of Belgium.

Dream Culture: Virtually all traditional shamanist cultures are  Dream Cultures: the Australian aborigines, the Indians of North, South and Central America, the Tongouse, Mongol and Siberian tribes in general, the peoples of Africa, the Senois of Malaysia, the adepts of Haitian voodoo, the Polynesians, certain tribes of Japan such as the Ainu - the list goes on and on. The Hungarians have also had their shamans, which they call the Taltos. These cultures are familiar with the power of Dreaming and view it as a gateway to other worlds.

Empathy: Capacity to be at one with the subject in question, to become him (whether or not the subject is human). The Collector, the Curator and the Caretaker of the Surnateum must possess this capacity to a very high degree.

Investigator:  As a member of the Surnateum's research team, the Investigator must know several languages, a good method of fighting or fleeing and be a master of the subtle art of negotiation and disguise. A worthy heir of Roy Chapman Andrews, Colonel Percy Fawcett and Leonid Kulkin, the Investigator is also trained to spot fakes, counterfeits, forgeries and those who make them. That is why he must learn the rudiments of conjuring, sleight of hand and the art of forgery. There can be no doubt that the  most skilful Investigators at the Surnateum are the Tertons.

Teacher: Individual living outside the reality of the world in his own dream. The teacher - who spent his childhood at school - will go back to school to study in order to come back and teach at school. The teacher generally lives a life surrounded by other teachers in a hermetically sealed, sometimes unhealthy, universe. Not all teachers are useless - far from it - but many of them have trouble making their superiors hear them. Teachers are often very politically aware and are content to simply regurgitate whatever programme they are given without giving too much thought to the consequences of their actions. But we would once again point out that this is not true of all teachers; some are remarkable individuals indeed.

Etteila: In 1770 he published, under his real name -- Jean-François Alliette, a teacher of mathematics -- a work entitled "Etteila ou la Manière de se récréer avec un jeu de cartes" ("Etteila - or How to Amuse Oneself with a Pack of Cards") in which he claims that he is a "master of fortune-telling with cards". The book describes the rules that he developed for using a 32-card piquet pack . There can be no doubt  that he is the inventor of cartomancy. In 1772, Court de Gébelin wrote -- in his book 'Primitive World' -- that tarot cards (also known as 'tharoth') are the vestiges of the Book of Thoth from ancient Egypt. Etteila was galvanised by this idea and set out to prove it. In 1783 he published "La Manière de se récréer avec le jeu de cartes nommé tarot" ("How to Amuse Oneself with a Tarot Pack of Cards") in which he sets out the "key to the 78 hieroglyphs found in the Book of Thoth, a work written in the year 1828 of Creation, 171 years after the Deluge". Etteila was the first professional cartomancer. After him, the most famous fortune-teller who used cards was undoubtedly Mademoiselle Lenormand.

Fantastic (Greek phantastikos 'capable of imagining'): 1. Said of a literary, artistic or cinematographic work which describes the sudden manifestation of the unreal and irrational into everyday reality. 2. Created by the imagination, fanciful.
Ambiguous borderline between the real and the unreal, this twilight zone allows a society's mythological world to interfere with that soci
ety, in one way or another. In traditional societies where the link between everyday life and magic has not been broken, this gateway is never closed and the fantastic is a constant presence, at least from the Western point of view. In our rationalist societies, this break with myth is reflected in a profusion of literature and films featuring fairytale worlds and horror - most of the time merely reflecting the death of the imagination and the liberation of unwholesome fantasies. However, leading 'fantastic' authors still maintain the key allowing them to pass from one universe to the other. Such authors include Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft, E.T.A. Hoffman, Jean Ray, Michel de Ghelderode, Thomas Owen, Bram Stoker, Gustav Meyrinck, Arthur Machen and Oscar Wilde, all of whom had that visionary quality so singularly lacking in the work of hacks who merely churn out potboilers. Their works also had a major influence on the contemporary imagination.

Freak: Real or fake fairground monster, as featured in Tod Browning's celebrated film 'Freaks'. Examples of freaks include dwarfs such as 'Tom Thumb', giants such as Anna Shannon and Martin Van Buren Bates, an individual born without legs (Freddy the Frog Boy), the hunchback of Notre Dame, the Elephant Man, the Great Omi, the tattooed man, living skeletons (Calvin Edson, Isaac Sprague and even Kate Moss), grossly fat and hideously ugly individuals (e.g., Julia Shent, who ended up stuffed and displayed in a case along with her baby) and bearded ladies (such as Madam Clofullia).
Barnum sought out, created and employed many freaks in his circus.
Your mother-in-law is probably better described as a geek than a freak.

Geek: Term designating the most base and repugnant form of entertainment found in American carnivals. Well below the freak in terms of status, the geek will eat anything: snakes, mice, frogs and live chickens, rotten food thrown by spectators while making revolting chewing sounds. The geek was often presented as the wild man of Borneo or Tasmania. Originally, he was in actual fact a hopeless drunk or junkie who used the money from the carnival job to feed his habit. The most famous geek ever was a woman by the name of Erika Shant.

Gorakh Nath: Divinity in the Hindu pantheon. Literally: a person who has mastered his senses (indriyas), in particular the vikritis, or negative aspects.
(Kaam - sexuality; Khrod - anger; Mad - ego; Lobh - greed; and Moh - attachment to material things).
Provoking Gorakh Nath is always a bad idea.

Guinée/Guinen: The voodoo 'Paradise' where the souls of the dead go. In  Haiti, Guinen is found under the sea surrounding the island. It comes from the word 'Guinée' (Guinea), the land where voodoo originated. At the Institute, this term represents the world of Spirits who can be consulted. It should not be confused with Alcheringa, which represents the myth in which the Sensitive will learn to travel without upsetting the Order.

Hauntique (n., pl. Hauntiques): an authentic haunted antique; the very essence of the objects housed at the Surnateum.
A rare Dream object -- antique or otherwise -- bearing magic powers that are obvious to Sensitives. The term is also used to describe objects used to detect and/or combat certain entities. A Hauntique can often be detected by the pernicious influence that it has on the people around it. The Hauntique is a gateway object between the Dream world and the ordinary world. As such, it sometimes allows certain entities to cross in either direction through the fine veil that separates these two worlds.

Hoodoo: form of voodoo combined with American Indian magic, typical of the amazing blends found in the United States. If you want to question an American voodoo follower about his practices, then you must ask him: "Hoodoo you do?"

Institute: Nickname given by Sensitives to the Foundation for the Exploration of Dreams (FED). The Institute is where Sensitives are trained. At the Institute, the student learns how to master his gift, often by practising an art, and how to live in an infinitely larger universe than the wretchedly confined and artificial world that is ordinary reality. Training at the Institute consists of nine levels of knowledge, often taking a lifetime to acquire. Without revealing any secret teachings, it can be said that the training is based on travels in Alcheringa. The first two levels also include the techniques of conjuring and prestidigitation, sport, logic games, imaginative literature and a general alertness to and awareness of the strange. In the third level, the art of Language and Incantations is taught. Starting with the fifth level, the student has enough competence to be a Storyteller and can begin passing on part of his knowledge. The Institute is not a substitute for school, rather it supplements and corrects what is learned at school, since academic subjects are often far too directed.

Intuitive: an elementary form of Sensitive. The Intuitive can test his abilities by trying to gain entry to the Secret Department. Generally speaking, the Intuitive rarely gets lost when driving, is able to easily find misplaced objects and can resolve problems faster than a normal individual.

Johnny Hallyday: See Zombie

Landsteiner Karl (Vienna 1868-USA 1943): Winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine (Physiology) in 1930. Studied at the University of Vienna, graduating in 1891. He spent his entire life researching blood mechanisms. He supplemented his training in chemistry at Hantzsch laboratories near Zürich, Emil Fischer laboratories in Würzburg and Bamberger laboratories in Munich. Returning to Vienna, he resumed his work as an assistant to Max von Gruber at the Hygiene Institute in Vienna. From 1898 to 1908, he held the post of assistant at the Department of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Vienna, headed up by Professor Weichselbaum. Weichselbaum secured Landsteiner's subsequent appointment at the Wilhelmina hospital in Vienna. He discovered blood groups between 1901 and 1903. After moving to the United States, he became Professor Emeritus at the Rockefeller Institute in 1939. He is thought to have met his colleague 'Schlemihl' in 1899 at the Wilhelmina hospital.

Liber Oneiromicon (Inv. SBB/gm-56149: liber book; oneiros dream; ikon image. Book of Dream Images, also known as the book of the 7 Gateways of the Dream.): The Liber Oneiromicon contains the knowledge and accounts of all the Collectors since the start of the collection. Filled with handwritten notes, strange texts, rare and precious documents and long-forgotten incantations, this work is the key that makes it possible to activate the forms of magic found at the Surnateum. Featuring seven chapters evoking seven aspects of the Magician, it can only be read in its entirety by the Curators and Collectors, and must be enriched by the Collectors. "I discovered that, in the life of men who seek knowledge, there are always seven secret doorways. I saw that there are always seven magic formulas, that the devils are the same, secret books are very similar and fallen angels are somewhat more numerous." (Hugo Pratt, from Fable of Venice). The contents of the Liber Oneiromicon also make it possible to read the past and future, to prophesy, to evoke errant souls, to control the free will of individuals, to detect Sensitives and to produce magic spells. The Surnateum is merely a pale reflection of what the Liber contains. In a departure from the normal procedure, some high-level Sensitives are authorised to master one page from the Liber. Without this fundamental work, there would be no purpose for either the Surnateum or the Institute . The book can be read at various levels of understanding, making it dangerous for the reader. Its title is reminiscent of the name of H.P. Lovecraft's highly dubious Necronomicon - but that is pure coincidence! In contrast with many magical pseudo-works, the Liber Oneiromicon is not encoded - which means that reading it is even more dangerous.

Lookher-22: Weapon used by SD (Search & Destroy) personnel. It simultaneously directs precisely adjusted light waves, infrasound and ultrasound at the target. Extremely destructive.

Lovett Edward (1852-1933): A banker in the City of London and founder of the Folklore Society, Edward Lovett devoted a large part of his life to studying and collecting legends, superstitions and popular traditions from London's East End. Not a particularly gullible man, he assiduously frequented the flea markets and old markets of London in search of a rare piece. By the end of his life, his collection had literally taken over his home in Croydon and driven out his wife. He donated some of the objects in his collection to the Cummings museum, including the knob of a magician's staff dating from the 14th century, a pinbox worn as a fetish by sailors and reputed to protect them from drowning, a cow's heart bristling with nails used to find out who tried to poison cattle at a dairy in Bethnall.
He is thought to be the model who inspired the first Collector.

Magic (Lat. magia, from Greek): Term derived from the Magi, priests from Ahura Mazda in ancient Persia. Group of practices aimed at wielding invisible forces for one's own purposes. Magic makes use of the principle of analogical reasoning whereby colours, scents, symbols, etc. are compared to each other - unlike science, which operates through syllogisms. The staff of the Surnateum and the Institute use both forms of reasoning simultaneously because one does not necessary rule out the other. The trip through Alcheringa can be viewed as a magical experience by an independent external observer.

Maqdas: Saint of saints in an Ethiopian church. Place in which is hidden the holy relic specific to the church in question. The maqdas is only accessible to the priest holding the highest rank in the hierarchy.

Number: The 'Number' has nothing to do with arithmetic, but with arithmology, a metaphysical mathematics. Fundamental structure of the universe. Only the most advanced mathematicians or Sensitives at level 8 or higher who have passed the trial of the Abyss can understand this concept. The same holds true for the book of the Pentateuch (or Torah), the fundamental concept of the Cabbala, Islam and Coptic magic. It is most often the key by which divination systems, talismans and amulets operate. Magic squares are grids for querying the Number via the pantacle.

Padmasambhava: Originally from Urgyen in Afghanistan, Guru Padmasambhava travelled to Tibet in the mid-8th century at the request of King Trisong Deutsan (742-797) to subjugate the demons hindering the construction of the Samye monastery. He subjugated the forces of evil, i.e. the shamans of the Bön traditions, who were considered to be demons, and introduced Tantric Buddhism. He founded the Nyingmapa tradition. He is also known under the name of Guru Rinpoche. In collaboration with the great BodhisattvaShantarakshita, Guru Rinpoche then built the Samye monastery, which became the leading centre for Buddhist teaching and literature.
The first adepts of Guru Rinpoche were renowned for their spiritual accomplishments: Namkhe Nyingpo travelled on beams of light, Yeshe Tsogyel could bring the dead back to life, Kawa could read the minds of others and Jana Kumara demonstrated miraculous powers.

Paranormal phenomenon: A poetic experience which crosses the path of a rationalist. Since a rationalist feels that such phenomena cannot be explained, he generally offers a prize of one million dollars to prove that they do not exist.  The artist cannot even conceive that there might be anything abnormal about such experiences, because he lives with them day and night. A true scientist can often be compared to a poet because he tries to learn practical lessons from his vision of the world. In this regard, see the comments on Bernard Heuvelmans.

Phurba (Phurbu, Purba, Tibetan nail): A dagger used to destroy demons. Introduced into Tibetan Buddhism by Padmasambhava, it is a symbol of the transmutation of negative forces and plays a central role in the system of meditation handed down by Yeshe Tsogyel, the consort of the Master. The origin of the Phurba is associated with a long Tantra (writing) presented by Padmasambhava at the start of his voyage to Tibet. A creature personified in Phurba plays a major role as a yidam (divinity of meditation) of the Sakyapa and Nyingmapa schools.

Price, Harry (1881-1948): The UK's most famous ghost hunter, he was also known as an expert in psychic research. He scientifically explored the psychic capabilities of certain mediums, a study which included the tricks of the fakirs such as fire walking and the Indian rope trick, as well as ritual magic, stigmata and psychic photography. Trained in the techniques of sleight of hand, he exposed phoney mediums. He revived the Ghost Club (which disappeared in 1916) and founded his own organisation: the National Laboratory for Psychical Research, to which the Institute bears a remarkable resemblance. Called a swindler, a saint and a disturbed scientist, he was dispatched in 1929 to Borley Rectory, the 'most haunted place in England'. He developed ghost-detecting equipment which is quite similar to that found at the Surnateum, albeit with some notable differences. He was shown a photograph of a ghost at Beersel castle (in Belgium) in 1939, but was unable to find any sign of trick photography or to give any plausible scientific explanation.

Punx: Ludwig Hanemann (27 October 1907 - 11 February 1996) Forerunner, along with Tony 'Doc' Shiels, Charles Cameron, Bob Lynn, Tony Andruzzi and the Collector, of a movement known as 'Bizarre Magick' which brings together various forms of magic to create various forms of enchantment. His main work, "Setzt Euch zu meinen Füssen" was translated into English as "Magical Adventures and Fairy Tales" and explores the lands of the Dream and how to bring back the magic enchantment found in those lands to the real world. His works are essential reading and are taught to the Surnateum's Storytellers. A series of seven booklets was published under the name "Experimente mit dem Überraum" and translated into English as "Fourth Dimensional Mysteries" and "Farewell Performance".

esis: Ability to move objects by the mind alone. One example would be switching off the television from a distance without using the remote control as soon as Céline Dion comes on. This example would be called 'telekinesis'. At present, no Sensitive has been able to do  more than move a small piece of furniture or twist a spoon psychokinetically.

IQ: intelligence quotient, an alleged measurement of intelligence. The average IQ is 100 for a normal individual. Individuals scoring between 70 and 100 generally like football and Céline Dion. At scores of over 110, reading and culture become part of the individual's vocabulary. At scores above 180, the individual understands that IQ has nothing to do with intelligence, but only measures the ability to pass the stupid test invented by a notorious swindler (Binet) who himself tampered with test findings on twins to prove his genetic theory of intelligence.

Ray, Jean/John Flanders: Raymond Jean Marie de Kremer (De Kremer, Raymondus Joannes Maria), born in the Ham district of Ghent, Belgium on 8 July 1887. He began writing under the pseudonyms of Jean Ray and John Flanders and was published in various student magazines in and around 1908-1910.
While pursuing an administrative career, he published his first book - Le Livre des Fantômes (The Book of Ghosts)- at the age of 38. This was followed by a plethora of adventure, detective and imaginative novels and short stories, of which his masterpiece is, in our opinion, Malpertuis.
In parallel with his life as a writer and civil servant, Jean Ray travelled the oceans of the imagination on a variety of pirate ships and phantom vessels. Nicknamed 'Tiger Jack' by the Rum-Row bootleggers, he did not shy away from starting countless brawls in the sordid dives and drinking joints of the far-flung corners of the world.
Following an unfortunate incident that led to his spending some time in prison, the master from Ghent fell into oblivion . He was rediscovered in 1961 by Editions Marabout, which published 25 Histoires Noires et Fantastiques ('25 Black and Fantastic Tales'). From that time on he was a phenomenal success. Unfortunately, he did not have
much time to enjoy his success for he died on 17 September 1964 at the age of 77. For more information about this extraordinary author, we can only recommend this site, currently the best on the Web.

Rule of Movements: When querying talismans and pantacles, the Rule of Movements requires that a harmonic order be followed when moving objects with respect to the talisman. Once the talisman has been correctly queried, the interpretation of the replies can begin. Each talisman has its own rules. This knowledge is handed down during the seventh level of studies pursued by Sensitives.

Rhine, Joseph Banks (1895-1980): In 1927, Dr J. B. Rhine, a botanist, launched a series of experiments in psychic phenomena at the Department of Psychology at Duke University in the United States. His interest in the paranormal dated back to a meeting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle following one of Conan Doyle's lectures. With the help of his wife, biologist Louisa E. Rhine and Dr William Mc Dougall, head of the Department of Psychology at the university, he set about testing a huge number of subjects and accumulating a mass of information on the unknown powers of the mind. When he officially created the Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory in 1935, his work had already received much recognition in the United States. He invented the term 'extrasensory perception'. His first experiments used a pack of cards bearing five different symbols (circle, cross, wavy lines, square and star) designed for him by his colleague, Dr Karl Zener. In 1962, Rhine moved his laboratory out of the university and founded the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM), a private organisation supported by Duke University but independent of it. J.B. Rhine is known today as the man who proved the existence of paranormal phenomena . Like the Collector, Rhine did not 'believe' in bizarre phenomena, he simply demonstrated their existence.

Sensitive: An individual gifted with a special sensitivity to the invisible and with some sort of 'paranormal' ability. At the Institute, Sensitives learn to master their gift and to conceal it from others. There are nine levels of proficiency at the Institute. To become a Storyteller, the Sensitive must have reached the fifth level. Those Sensitives who go beyond the fifth level are able to access their unconscious and subconscious.
The abilities found among Surnateum staff include: telepathy, empathy, telekinesis, and above all the art of finding parking spaces in cities such as Paris, London and Brussels.
The greater the Sensitive's sensitivity, the more difficult it is for him or her to remain in contact with the outside world.
Zetetics and vampires are the sworn enemies of the Sensitive.
The Sensitive is able to correctly spell
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious after reading it just once.
The Sensitive never feels superior to the
layman, but does feel a great sadness in seeing them missing out on such an incredibly rich universe.

Shiels, Tony 'Doc' (Salford, England 1938- ): Forerunner of the 'bizarre magick' movement (see Punx), author of '13!', 'Daemons, Darklings and Döppelgangers', 'The Shiels Effect', 'And Then They Were Three', 'Bizarre' and 'The Cantrip Codex'. He performed as a worker of miracles and tamer of monsters in travelling carnivals and was one of the first to photograph the Loch Ness monster, affectionately known as 'Nessie'. As a Sensitive, he possessed the extremely curious power of being able to dissolve clouds and read omens in a glass of Guinness. In a bid to lure the monster, his daughter Cait Sith, a renowned witch, went swimming nude in Loch Ness in 1976, along with a number of other similarly unclothed witches. Sadly, they only managed to attract more tourists.

Songlines: In Australia, the travels of the ancestor spirits in the Dream World (Alcheringa) are recorded in 'songlines'. Songlines link various sacred places that trace the path of an ancestor in a dreaming as it moves around Australia, recreating the landscapes, flora and fauna found there. The travels of one of these ancestors - the Rainbow Snake - is shared by many aboriginal communities throughout Australia. A songline is sung at a speed of around 5 km/h, so that the individual on the move will not get lost. These paths are only travelled by other travellers who share the same song and therefore belong to the same clan. The very oldest aborigines know virtually all the Dreamsongs and can therefore travel throughout Australia without getting lost. This concept is fundamental in understanding the link between the Dream World and the so-called 'real' world.

Summers, Montague (1880-1948): Alphonsus Joseph Mary Augustus Montague Summers was a fascinating and sometimes disturbing individual. His two works - The vampire, his kith and kin and The vampire in Europe (1928-1929) - secured his reputation as the leading authority on vampirism in the 20th century. He was fond of walking with a cane whose silver knob represented Leda and the swan. His high-pitched voice contrasted strangely with his talent for telling fantastic stories. For his entire life, he adored surrounding himself with an aura of mystery. He had a vast knowledge of the occult. After reading theology at Oxford, he sought to take holy orders by studying at Lichfield Theological College and subsequently entered as an apprentice at the diocese of Bitton, near Bristol. One year later, he made an about-face and converted to Catholicism, announced that he had been appointed to the priesthood and had people address him as 'reverend'. Obsessed by sorcery and vampirism, he was suspected of dabbling in occultism. His erudition on the subject was phenomenal. He was a Sensitive with highly refined abilities, and 1938 he met the deputy of the bishop of Ghent, His Eminence Van Rechem, a key player in the investigation that we refer to as 'Rhesus 2'.)

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: Expression used by Mary Poppins in the book by P.L. Tavers and in the Disney animated film. Not to be confused with 'Supercalifragilistisexpialidocious', a much more pernicious word and a common misspelling made by bogus Sensitives. Spelling this word properly is a basic test for Sensitives at the Institute.

Surnateum: Museum of Supernatural History... but you've probably started to figure that out by now, haven't you?

Talisman (from the Arabic tilasm): Symbol of protection from the evil eye, the talisman is a magic formula, a prayer or a sura written on parchment, wood, metal, stone or leather; it is supposed to protect the individual or his home from demons. The talisman is often placed in a talisman holder and worn around the neck or on the arm. Originally, during the pre-Islamic period, tattoos served the same function and had the advantage of being permanent. They lend themselves well to many coded games, since the letters can replace figures, which themselves can be mixed around or read backwards. Talismans and pantacles (not to be confused with 'pentacles', which imply the number 5) can be inscribed in geometric shapes that enhance their magic power. In Arabia, one goes to a teacher of the Koran or an imam to have amulets made. In Ethiopia, these duties are performed by the dabtara. A trained 'magician' can consult a talisman or a pantacle, provided that he possesses the objects needed to query it and applies the Rule of Movements applicable to the talisman in question.

Telepathy: Ability to read the thoughts of others. This ability is not very useful given the very limited number of subjects who actually think for themselves and who are capable of forming an original thought. An elementary form of this gift are the 0'tells' exploited in games such as poker and blackjack by intuitives and professional gamblers. Three degrees of telepathy have been found in Sensitives: the ability to send a message to a receiving subject; the ability to receive a message, i.e. read the mind of someone else; and the ability to both send and receive. Generally speaking, a person able to send messages can only be received by an individual capable of receiving telepathic messages. However...

Teratology: Science of the study of freaks and monsters.

Terma (Tibetan treasures): In Tibetan Buddhism, Terma is a word designating sacred and religious texts hidden in secret places to be discovered at a later date when the time is right by individuals capable of understanding and enriching these texts. This has been common practice for centuries in India. Mahayana ('Great Vehicle') Buddhism is based on a text entitled The Sutra of the Heart of Wisdom, handed down by the Buddha himself at Nagarjuna by the Nagas, the Snake Spirits. The Nyingmapas hold the largest collection of occult and magical knowledge of this kind, the most important writings of which differ from those of Padmasambhava and his consort Dakini Yeshe Tsogyel. The two most important texts are those which tell the life story of Padmasambhava and the Bardo Thödol (the Tibetan book of the dead). The most important Terma at the Surnateum is the Liber Oneiromicon.

Terton (Tibetan masters of the treasure): Guru Padmasambhava hid many teachings in the form of spiritual treasures in such places as lakes, forests and caves. They are to be discovered when the time is right (see Terma). Once his disciples attained liberation, they would reincarnate themselves, find the Treasures and propagate their teaching throughout the world in a bid to liberate the human race. These reincarnated disciples are called Tertons. They receive the vision or signs indicating how to find these treasures, and if the treasure is not physical but mental, the Terton rediscovers this wisdom within himself. These masters have emerged over the centuries and even into our own time. Two Tertons are associated with the Surnateum and the Institute. Their identity is one of the great secrets of the Institute.

Timkat (epiphany): Ethiopian holy feast celebrated at the beginning of the year on or around 19 January, and during which the Tabots (representations of the ark of the covenant) or copies thereof are paraded around the town for the adoration of the faithful.

Totem: In traditional societies, an object, species of animal or plant, or natural phenomenon to which a child is linked by dream and ritual. The first totem found in Alcheringa is the form in which the Sensitive will travel through Alcheringa before finding others that he must either fight or use. Aggressive demons are often the buried fears that the individual must overcome before crossing through the gateway into the Dream World. The Totem must be respected. Often, the Sensitive wears a piece of jewellery or a sign connecting him with his Totem(s).

Trance: Modified state of consciousness in which the shaman can travel in the spirit world and communicate with the spirits. The trance can be conscious and controlled, or can become possession, as is the case in Haitian voodoo. The mental state of Johnny Hallyday is not a genuine trance but closer to that of a zombie.

Trickster: A chaotic spirit/entity/loa present in all mythologies. The trickster destroys any ideas of order and permanence, and as such is essential to the functioning of a society or group. Christian missionaries often confused him with the devil. May be associated with Hermes/Mercury in Greco-Roman mythology. The current Curator will never forget a certain experience he had...

Vade Retro satanas: "Vade Retro Satanas Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana Sunt Mala Que Libas Ipse Venena Bibas" "Withdraw, Satan, do not inspire me with empty things. The drink you offer is evil. Drink your poisons yourself". A phrase used in exorcism and the first lesson taught to Sensitives working in the Surnateum's Department of Sorcery and Invocations. Must be said in Latin with a certain amount of energy in order to be effective. The phrase was inscribed on one side of the medallion of Saint Benoît sold by the abbey of Maredsous.

Vambery, Arminius (1832-1913 ): Arminius or Hermann, professor of oriental languages at the University of Pesth (from 1865 to 1905) and a great traveller in Asia Minor. He travelled to Armenia and Persia disguised as a pilgrim. In the 1880s, he met Bram Stoker at the Beefsteacks Company in London and reportedly had an impact on Stoker's Dracula. An expert in Hungarian mythology, he met Professor 'Schlemihl' in 1899 and gave him enough information for him to continue his travels.
He described his travels in The Story of My St
ruggles, the Memoirs of Arminius Vambery, T. Fisher Unwin, London 1904.

A 'mythical' creature when it takes the form of 'Dracula' or ''Nosferatu', the vampire is a kind of black hole, a predator, a soulless individual who needs the psychic and vital energy of others in order to survive. Thirsty for power and extremely sly, he makes sure he is always surrounded by a court whose lives he literally 'eats away'. He can be found on all committees, in all administrative bodies, at all clubs and places where he can throw his weight around. He is, by his very nature, the sworn and mortal enemy of the Sensitive, who can detect his presence very quickly. In his most advanced form, some physical changes become apparent. More widespread than the Sensitive in a proportion of 100 to 1, you will certainly come across one or more on a daily basis. A personal object that has belonged to one of these creatures is charged with an evil 'aura'.
A recent study has shown that people working in places infested with vampires have a life expectancy that is five years less than people who don't. Anyone working in close proximity to these creatures has a much lower life expectancy.

oodoo: A highly vigorous religion which originated in West and Central Africa (Fon/Yoruba/Congo) and developed in the Caribbean. It combines elements of Vodun, Christianity, Black Code and freemasonry. Called vaudou in Haiti and voodoo in New Orleans, it goes by the names of Santeria, Lukumi and Regla de Ocha in Cuba, and Candomblé and Umbanda in Brazil. Most of the entities present in the Hauntiques have an equivalent in the voodoo pantheon, which explains why the Surnateum staff are so interested in this religion.

Yeti or yah (rock, stone) teh (animal): A mythical creature living in Nepal/Tibet and the subject of many legends.

Zetetics (Greek zetein to seek)
: In Antiquity, zetetics was the method used to penetrate to the reason of things. It is the rejection of any and all dogmatic affirmations, an approach which the staff at the Foundation for the Exploration of Dreams and the Surnateum agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, these days the term is associated with a group of individuals trying dogmatically to prove that their extreme rationalism is the only possible vision of the world. They try to prove 'scientifically' that Dreaming is an impossible thing, that they possess the absolute truth and that their so-called intelligence means that they are supermen! In a bid to prove their pitiful utterances, they generally team up with fifth-rate illusionists who are so desperate to make a comeback that they publicly explain the workings of feats of prestidigitation that they themselves have not even created. The zetetic is the enemy of the Sensitive because he is secretly jealous of his ability to use his imagination.

Zombie: See Johnny Hallyday


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